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EMBO J. 1996 Jun 17;15(12):3065-76.

Activation of cyclin-dependent kinases by Myc mediates induction of cyclin A, but not apoptosis.

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Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie Heidelberg (ZMBH), Germany.


The activation of conditional alleles of Myc induces both cell proliferation and apoptosis in serum-deprived RAT1 fibroblasts. Entry into S phase and apoptosis are both preceded by increased levels of cyclin E- and cyclin D1-dependent kinase activities. To assess which, if any, cellular responses to Myc depend on active cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks), we have microinjected expression plasmids encoding the cdk inhibitors p16, p21 or p27, and have used a specific inhibitor of cdk2, roscovitine. Expression of cyclin A, which starts late in G1 phase, served as a marker for cell cycle progression. Our data show that active G1 cyclin/cdk complexes are both necessary and sufficient for induction of cyclin A by Myc. In contrast, neither microinjection of cdk inhibitors nor chemical inhibition of cdk2 affected the ability of Myc to induce apoptosis in serum-starved cells. Further, in isoleucine-deprived cells, Myc induces apoptosis without altering cdk activity. We conclude that Myc acts upstream of cdks in stimulating cell proliferation and also that activation of cdks and induction of apoptosis are largely independent events that occur in response to induction of Myc.

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